On Equal Pay Day for Black Women, It’s Time to Take Action

 Black woman working on a laptop in the office

Supporting this neglected employee demographic has a profound impact on your business.

The numbers are wretched.

Equal Pay Day for Black women in 2022 is Aug. 3. That means Black women will work an additional 214 days before they catch up to the 2021 earnings of white, non-Hispanic male colleagues.

According to the National Women’s Law Center, Black Women only receive 63 cents for every dollar paid to white male workers. That gap adds up, coming to $24,110 dollars a year and almost $1 million over a 40+ year career.

According to Great Place To Work® research, inequality isn’t just bad for workers. It’s bad for business, too. In our For All™ model, companies that don’t maximize the human potential of all workers end up:

If you aren’t paying Black women what they are worth, your business is in trouble. And according to the data, it’s likely you aren’t paying them nearly enough.

So, what can you do about it?

1. Audit your numbers—and ask the right questions.

What is the gender and racial makeup of your leadership team? How are different roles and pay scales assigned to different genders and ethnic backgrounds in your organization?

Look for telltale signs that women and women of color in your organization are being left behind.

2. Lead listening tours and build relationships.

The best leaders are curious about all the ways that can make their organizations better—more efficient, more profitable and more equitable. If you simply ask employees about their experiences, you might be surprised about what you learn.

Employee surveys can reveal gaps where targeted investment could make a real difference in helping all workers succeed. And building one-on-one relationships is a powerful way to make underrepresented workers feel seen and appreciated.

3. Follow through with action—and make sure any activity is communicated clearly.

When employees participate in listening sessions, they are taking a risk. They are sharing their personal thoughts with the hope that their work environment will change for the better.

When listening sessions don’t lead to tangible action, employees can feel betrayed. Instead of building trust in leaders, employees learn that leaders’ words don’t match their real priorities.

4. Be transparent when you don’t get it right.

Even the very best leaders make mistakes. It’s how mistakes are addressed that can make the difference for Black employees.

Closing the pay gap for Black women requires a multi-faceted approach. For companies to succeed, it’s essential to ask if workers are being paid what they deserve.

And if they aren’t? Start taking steps to put things right.

Get Started

Compare the experiences of your employees with the most credible benchmark data available.

Ted Kitterman